UK - Angry protesters have attacked plans to give Exeter city councillors access to the Local Government Pension Scheme.
The move would cost nearly £50,000 a year – money which protesters say should be spent on “essential services”.
An independent panel says allowing the 40 councillors to join the scheme will encourage more people to put themselves forward for public office.
But opponents claim such benefits should not be a motivating factor for serving the council.
Exeter City Council members’ service manager Rowena Whiter said the issue had proved controversial locally – and throughout Devon.
She said: “District councils have found it to be a sensitive issue with changes frequently tied up with rises in council tax. There have been a number of pensioner groups protesting and the majority of the district councillors have opted not to join.”
She added: “In reality, a councillor who served for a long time on average pay would still only receive minimal pension benefits at the end of their term in office.”
Advocates claim that taking a day off from a private employer each week to be a councillor leaves a “massive hole” in pension provision, and councillors should be allowed to replace it.
Under the scheme, councillors would pay 6% of pensionable allowances into the scheme while the employer would make contributions of 21%.
If all 40 Exeter councillors opted to join the scheme it could cost the council £46,405 in the first year.
An LGPS spokeswoman said the decision whether to join the scheme was down to individual councils and the LGPS did not provide advice.
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